Movie Review - "Black Swan"

Thanks for checking out my review of Black Swan, which stars Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis, and directed by Darren Aronofsky. Here's the synopsis:

Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side - a recklessness that threatens to destroy her. (Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures)

I wanted to see this film from the first time I saw the trailer, and the great reviews made me even more anxious to see this film. I was warned by a couple of friends that this might not be a film for everyone, and after seeing it, I can echo that assessment. Warning - if you have any type of complex regarding perfectionism or success at any/all costs, this movie will fuck with you. Even if you don't have those issues, this movie will still bug you out, but that's really a credit to Aronofsky. If you've seen any of his earlier work (Requiem for a Dream, Pi, The Wrestler) then you know what I'm referring to. He has this ability to really get the viewer all consumed into the film & they definitely have a lasting effect on the viewer.

From the beginning of the film, I loved the way it was shot. It was done in a grainy, almost rough way, with not a lot of smoothness which lent some realness to the experience. It's like you were in the film instead of simply consuming it.

Aronofsky does an amazing job of developing both the plot & the characters, especially the main character Nina, without having to spell everything out in dialogue. He uses the set, props, costumes, lighting, etc to give us clues about the characters, their motivations, etc. And that to me added so much more to the film.

Watching this film, you can see & experience the transformation that Nina experiences. One moment she's sheltered, naive, practically childlike, and the next she's consumed with this desire for perfection at any & all costs. The way in which she embraces her dark side & leaves her innocence behind is artistic & smartly done.

I really enjoyed all the performances in this film, both the acting and the dancing. Portman may have given the best performance of her career in this film. While Kunis's character didn't have as much development, she does a good job playing the sexy wildchild to Portman's innocent darling character. Barbara Hershey's portrayal of the overprotective mother who won't let her daughter grow up was exquisite. The dancing done by the entire cast was a great complement to the splendid acting & very entertaining.

Overall, Black Swan was an excellent film & I enjoyed the experience of seeing it. Once again Aronofsky shows us a facet of human behavior & drives the viewer to evaluate their own issues. Its thought-provoking, visually stunning, and definitely worth going to see as soon as you can.

Have you seen Black Swan? What did you think?